4.5 - Sometimes these old Harlequins are like warm chocolate chip cookies. They hit the spot and give you warm fuzzies while doing it. :-)
This was a r4.5 - Sometimes these old Harlequins are like warm chocolate chip cookies. They hit the spot and give you warm fuzzies while doing it. :-)
This was a really good book. The storyline attracted me and I also wanted to see how the angle of a married hero works within a romance. Another angle with this book is that it focuses on much more than just the sexual tension building between the hero and heroine like many romances today.
The book opens on Sara Lister, our heroine, as a rising opera singer set to make waves with her voice across the country. Things change once her brother gets into trouble and she has to put her ambitions and career aside to help him for fear that the situation will ruin their mother's heart condition. She goes to his job to give his boss (the hero), Phillip, a peace of her mind and after getting his job back, she is offered a spot on the game show by the boss's colleague, Patrick (also his wife's cousin), to possibly win back the money she gave to her brother's bailout. The spot becomes a shot at stardom as she is asked to sing a contemporary pop song. She sings it as an operetta which elicits laughter from the audience and thus angers our heroine. To show them whose boss, she mentally breaks her voice down and goes again everything she was taught by her opera teacher. Lo and behold, this captivates the audience and Patrick as well. He insists on taking her under his wing and making her a huge start. In no time, this occurs as Sara is whisked into the affluent life style of celebrity.
The interesting thing about this book is that the hero and heroine don't really start a romance until later in the book. Much of the story focuses on Sara herself as she goes through her career working alongside Patrick who has a strong liking for her. There's also tension between her and Patrick's wife Tina who is the polar opposite of Sara and in some ways her rival.
I loved the way this story was written because it felt like a mainstream novel. Since it was a category romance, a lot of detail is glossed over and time passes in the wave of a paragraph. Without the format constraints, I'm sure it would befit a novel's detail but as is, I enjoyed passing the time with it. There was a nice bit of drama throughout the story and a surprising suspenseful element (murder!) that occurs near the end. All of it fits within the context of the story and characters who seem to always be hiding something under the surface until the final curtain falls. Sara herself was a bit of a lightweight heroine but in the trend of strong heroines, it was interesting to see a softer heroine. Being somewhat new to romance, I always enjoy reading older Harlequins to see how the trends change and often to have a different change of pace from today's romances. Man out of Reach was a good reads that I'm happy to add to my keeper shelf to reread on those chilly, gloomy nights....more
Baby Under the Mistletoe is a SuperRomance with three stories: The "main" couple free spirit Soleil Freeman and military man W**spoiler alert** 2 1/2
Baby Under the Mistletoe is a SuperRomance with three stories: The "main" couple free spirit Soleil Freeman and military man West Morgan, who had a fling one summer and ended up with Soliel pregnant months later, West's mom Julia finding love again after a few decades long divorce with his father "The General" who consists of the final end of the story as he battles Alzheimer's disease.
The book seemed interesting because rarely does Harlequin deal with interracial romances and it was interesting seeing the couple featured in a Superromance of all places (if I see one on the cover of an Harlequin American Romance, I'll probably keel over on the spot). Unfortunately, the couple didn't live up to the interesting blurb. Soleil and and West barely know each other as we're introduced to them in the prologue and both delight in pushing the other's buttons. The chemistry is there and I was hoping it would continue on as the book pans out. Sadly, they grew tiring as they were reunited, Soliel more so in her insistence to keep her pregnancy from West since he didn't fit the ideal partner she had in mind. West, on the other hand, has wanted to settle down with Soleil and have a family with her from the get go but Miss Independence wouldn't have it and still wouldn't have all the way through the pregnancy. In an age of constant reports of men leaving their children behind once they found out they were going to be father's, I found it hard to believe Soleil would be so selfish and short sighted to push the father of the kid away especially when he wants to be apart of hers and the child's life. Even though she grew up with dire conditions, it would seem like she would want to give her child the best situation and one she never had a chance to have.
This is contrasted with the developing relationship of Julia Morgan and her love interest, Frank who she met on an internet dating site. If stories like this consisted of the now defunct Harlequin Next line, I have to wonder who was the boob that canned it. I loved reading about Julia's and Frank's sweet romance as they began to fall in love with each other. There were first date jitters, small talk as they got to know each other and developing chemistry that was sweet and identifiable to watch. There was one instance in the middle where Julia finds out that The General was sick and has to cancel a date with Frank because she still wants to make sure The General was okay. It was a selfless act still touched with a love they shared for so long. Even though The General was a harsh and rather ornery man who bossed any and everyone around (and apparently sexually harassed a few of his cartakers as well) Julia knew how to care for him and the moment he saw her again in his life, he calms down. It's a memorable moment that shows the maturity of life and love especially between two people who have known each other for so long and have gone through so much. Julia's story engaged me much more than the main couples which basically earned an extra star on its own.
Sometimes I wondered why West was into Soleil. In a few scenes he's attracted to the way she looks and he likes pushing her buttons because he knows she has a short temper but other than that, I couldn't see much attraction there even to the end. There were a few moments of chemistry but they were mainly tied into love scenes which quickly went cold until afterward. Soleil was insistent on having everything done her way or else. The reader is given a few instances of this as she never budged about compromising to suit her baby's and West's needs. Another instance is evidenced by one scene where she forces one of her young interns to swallow his fear of dogs by confronting hers. It was an interesting insight into the machinations of her character. At times I felt like Soleil's strength was at the expense of West's pushover weakness in trampling over everything he and everyone else wanted. Strangely enough she ends up giving Julia advice on leaving her husband which could have been a sweet scene for me but it felt like another one of Soleil's butting in moments. I did find that Soleil had a lot in common with The General which strangely enough mirrored West having shades of his mother in him. Perhaps the parallel was on purpose to show how opposites can attract and work through their differences but considering how West's parent's ended up a few years down the road (after staying together for the kids), I'm not sure that's such a good thing.
All in all, Baby Under the Mistletoe was interesting and definitely worth the read for the mature couple. I would love to see them get a spin-off book of their own....more
I came across this online novel in a google search and decided to take a look at it with plans to just read the first chapter one night. Soon I foundI came across this online novel in a google search and decided to take a look at it with plans to just read the first chapter one night. Soon I found myself diving into the story and absorbed in the lives of the characters we meet throughout the story.
The story focuses on Kate Collins in the present time as she goes through her mother's possessions after her death. She comes upon the letters she sent from college and we're transported through Kate's memories via the letters as she goes to Washington University college at the age of 19 in '50s Seattle. Kate is a smart girl, often working hard to keep ahead of her classes and (as we come to find out later) often a head of herself. She gets a part time job typing a book for one of the biochemist teachers, the handsome and much older Dr. David Roseneau. The two become friends through their love of knowledge and learning and soon feelings and relationships grow into more as Kate's and David's lives forever change.
I LOVED this book! It's like finding a treasure in the midst of a wide ocean. Author Rebecca Heath presents a story which reads like an old friend telling you her life story. It feels like a memoir/autobiography in a way. Kate and David go into detail talking about sailing, opera, poetry, classic books and much more which ties to their interest. Some readers may not be comfortable that Roseneau was in a unhappy marriage while involved with Kate but in a time before no-fault divorce and the connection these two make with each other, it works especially as we see them in the epilogue. There's lots of frank talk about sex and love that I found refreshing and none of the book felt formulaic or forced. David and Kate felt like real characters I would like to get to know myself. As they met and shared their history with the people they met and knew, I felt like I was right there learning about their life story. As Kate had a sexual and emotional awakening with David, I could relate to her curiosity and growing love. The author took time to show us the strong friendship and eventual love between Kate and David and the end results were so satisfying I didn't want it to end.
Letters to My Mother is a wonderful love story mixed with a coming of age tale that any one could relate to as they recall their first and/or greatest love. The novel is offered free from the author. It's so good I wish she would make a tip jar or donation button somewhere because a story this good deserves some kickbacks for its wonderful creation.
Although the book was published in 2008, this is definitely going on my best reads of 2009 and my virtual keeper shelf. I hope the author makes a print edition available one day because I'd love to place this on my shelf with my other favorites. ...more